How to license a business in the UAE

Pauline Familara
Pauline Familara
17 December 2022
How to license a business in the UAE

It is necessary to have a license to conduct any entrepreneurial activity in the Arab Emirates. The permit is issued for one year and is subject to annual renewal following the same procedure as for initial receipt. The UAE license is issued when starting the company with the founding documents after registration. The licensing process, additional requirements, the need to obtain an agreement, and the licensing document’s cost depend on the activity type. We will tell you what types of licenses exist in the Emirates and help to understand the specifics of the license registration and extension, which is vital to know for the successful start of your business.

UAE License: Main Groups And Types

Obtaining a license in the Emirates is mandatory for any company, regardless of the registration place: on the mainland or in the free economic zone. All licenses are divided into four large groups:

  • Commercial;
  • Industrial;
  • Professional or service;
  • Tourist.

Types of commercial licenses

Commercial activity in the UAE is regulated by issuing licenses of the following types:

  • Trading, allowing wholesale and retail trade, export, import, re-export, and electronic commerce. There are two types of trade licenses:
    • General Trading is offered for trading by any group of goods without any restrictions;
    • Trading – such a trading UAE license allows purchasing and selling goods belonging to similar categories. It provides a limitation on product items: no more than 10;
  • Real estate business license that regulates the activities of developers, realtors, managers, security, and cleaning companies;
  • Investment and financial licenses – they provide for a wide range of activities, including:
    • investment in commercial projects;
    • issuance of securities and conducting operations on stock markets;
    • issuing loans;
    • actions of the payment agent;
    • trust management of assets;
    • creation of investment funds;
    • providing consulting services for the use of assets and the placement of investments;
    • financial and technical services carried out using innovative technologies;
    • insurance activity;
  • Licenses for the activity of logistics companies. They give the right to engage in:
    • by sea and air cargo transportation, as well as delivery cargo by land transport;
    • warehouse storage of goods;
    • providing the services of a freight or customs broker.

Industrial licenses in the UAE

This group of licenses includes documents giving the right to produce goods of various uses and packaging for them, as well as construction licenses for the entire cycle of works on the construction of facilities in the UAE and other countries. At the same time, general construction and finishing work, activities for improving the territory, creating a landscape design, and carrying out repairs can also be licensed.

Types of professional licenses

The group of authorization documents for the implementation of professional activity includes:

  • Engineering licenses that grant the right to engage in:
    • design of buildings, constructions, and engineering systems, implementation of author’s supervision;
    • development of design solutions for the interior and exterior of buildings and landscape on the house territory;
    • design and installation of electrical and telecommunication systems;
  • Licenses for activities in the field of education and sports;
  • Medical permits: for the work of private clinics, hospitals, medical centers, and laboratories;
  • Service licenses for the provision of services:
    • to the population – they are necessary for organizing the work of laundries, car service centers, beauty salons, studios, or repair workshops;
    • business (secretarial, accounting, auditing, legal, and communication services);
  • Licenses for organizing work in the field of:
    • public catering and agriculture;
    • marketing and advertising;
    • information technologies;
    • recreation and entertainment organizations;
  • Licenses for the provision of consulting services.

To obtain the majority of professional licenses, it is necessary to get permission from the relevant state bodies that exercise control in the relevant industry and confirm the qualifications and experience of specialists and their accreditation in the Emirates.

UAE license for conducting tourism business

Agencies, tour operators, and companies engaged in organizing and selling tours and tickets for tourists, providing them with places to stay, organizing excursions, and other tourist activities must have a tourist license in the Emirates.

Stages Of Business Licensing In The Emirates

To obtain a UAE license, it is necessary to comply with the conditions and requirements of the country’s government, the government department of economic development of the emirate (the requirements may differ in each of the seven emirates), and the government of the free economic zone. The licensing procedure consists of the following stages:

Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Computer simulated model of the artificial archipelago ‘Palm Jumairah.’ Artificial islands were constructed in the Persian Gulf for affluent property owners. — Image by © Al-Nakheel/dpa/Corbis
  1. Careful analysis of the company’s future activities;
  2. Сhoosing a suitable place for license registration. Study and analyze the competitive environment and requirements for licensing the selected type of activity in a specific emirate and free zone;
  3. Choosing the organizational and legal form of the company and the type of license;
  4. Confirmation of registration address;
  5. Compliance with the requirements of the regulators: obtaining the necessary permits and approvals;
  6. Payment of the registration fee and license fee;
  7. Obtaining a license and business registration;
  8. Choosing a service company that will provide administrative and legal support for your business and renews the license in time.

For help obtaining and renewing a UAE license, contact the specialists of Dynasty Business Adviser!

  • Alkhaleej: Дубай как глобальный логистический бренд. The Arabinform Journal. Дата обращения: 3 марта 2022. Архивировано 3 марта 2022 года.

  • Ashfaq Ahmed. RTA wants 30% of Dubai residents on public transport (англ.). Gulf News. Дата обращения: 28 апреля 2021. Архивировано 18 апреля 2021 года.

  • Внешняя торговля ОАЭ Архивная копия от 3 декабря 2013 на Wayback Machine | Страноведческий каталог «EconRus» We welcome your comment!

We use cookie files and similar technologies to ensure that users are as comfortable as possible.